Elevated inflammatory responses and targeted therapeutic intervention in a preclinical mouse model of ataxia-telangiectasia lung disease

Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 19;11(1):4268. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-83531-3.


Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is an autosomal recessive, multisystem disorder characterized by cerebellar degeneration, cancer predisposition, and immune system defects. A major cause of mortality in A-T patients is severe pulmonary disease; however, the underlying causes of the lung complications are poorly understood, and there are currently no curative therapeutic interventions. In this study, we examined the lung phenotypes caused by ATM-deficient immune cells using a mouse model of A-T pulmonary disease. In response to acute lung injury, ATM-deficiency causes decreased survival, reduced blood oxygen saturation, elevated neutrophil recruitment, exaggerated and prolonged inflammatory responses and excessive lung injury compared to controls. We found that ATM null bone marrow adoptively transferred to WT recipients induces similar phenotypes that culminate in impaired lung function. Moreover, we demonstrated that activated ATM-deficient macrophages exhibit significantly elevated production of harmful reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and pro-inflammatory cytokines. These findings indicate that ATM-deficient immune cells play major roles in causing the lung pathologies in A-T. Based on these results, we examined the impact of inhibiting the aberrant inflammatory responses caused by ATM-deficiency with reparixin, a CXCR1/CXCR2 chemokine receptor antagonist. We demonstrated that reparixin treatment reduces neutrophil recruitment, edema and tissue damage in ATM mutant lungs. Thus, our findings indicate that targeted inhibition of CXCR1/CXCR2 attenuates pulmonary phenotypes caused by ATM-deficiency and suggest that this treatment approach represents a viable therapeutic strategy for A-T lung disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / etiology
  • Acute Lung Injury / metabolism
  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology
  • Animals
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / complications*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / genetics*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / deficiency
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins / genetics
  • Biomarkers*
  • Bleomycin / adverse effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism*
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Bleomycin
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins